Based on the author’s keynote talk at the ERF’s 25th anniversary conference in Kuwait City (March 10-12, 2019), this paper outlines the research and policy dimensions of the fast-rising intangibles economy. The key features of such economic structures are – the centrality of (mostly proprietary) intellectual property; high upfront costs for firms but near-zero marginal costs of production if successful; first-mover advantage especially if backed up by standard-setting; and handsome rewards for strategic behavior. There is no single route to success in such a world; in fact many successful countries have had ex ante daunting challenges not unknown among ERF countries. The ethos that drives the ERF has never been more essential than it is today.
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